United States


Daniel Horrigan


197,846 (2017)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

Heather Roszczyk

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve resident outcomes

  • Generate new sources of revenue

  • Improve internal government operations

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Leadership from Mayor

  • Support from outside city administration

  • Dedicated innovation staff position

Spotlight on innovation in Akron

For nearly a year, City of Akron leadership, County of Summit leadership, and Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce leadership have been engaged in an intensive project to develop alignment for economic development. With a desire to re-architect the nature and level of collaboration to leapfrog outcomes from the current system, both the elected and board leadership of the Partners have endorsed the work. In addition, a series of five specific strategies with specific tactics and outcomes are being finalized to drive this unique collaboration forward. This new work includes a joint project management office; a number of joint working teams and joint investment in the new initiatives.

Note: The City Innovation Snapshot (PDF version) was produced in 2019 and some aggregate findings have been updated with the latest survey results below.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Akron has an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to 20% of cities surveyed, Akron approaches innovation capacity from a holistic/macro level.

Akron focuses on breaking down barriers to entry and eliminating silos.

Policy areas that Akron is focused on

Economic Development
Ecosystem Development
Policy areas by number of cities

Akron utilizes 2 different innovation skills or roles

Project manager
Innovation roles by number of cities

Akron’s innovation work is led by the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Advocate working at the Mayor’s Office.

Terms Akron most associates with innovation

Big picture re-thinking

Akron's most common innovation activities

Taking risks and testing new ideas
e.g. prototyping new programs or models to address a persistent city challenge
Engaging residents in new ways
Human-centered design
e.g. prioritizing the end-user at each stage of the design process
  1. 1

    Taking risks or testing new ideas

  2. 2

    Data-driven analytics/public data management

  3. 3

    Engaging residents in new ways

  4. 4

    Developing new solutions based on digital technologies

  5. 5

    Organizational change within the municipality

  6. 6

    Human-centered design

  7. 7

    Rethinking your city’s approach to financing partnerships

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Akron has dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.

Top sources of funding

Municipal budget
Operating budget approved by city council
Municipal budget
This could include, for instance, City Council approved funds; operating budget; a special funding process (bond, Mayoral special initiative funding, etc.); and participatory budgeting / citizen-selected budgeting.

Activities being funded

Paying for services
47 cities
Launching or sustaining a project
79 cities
Idea generation & brainstorming
51 cities
Investing in digital systems
36 cities
Investing in physical infrastructure
30 cities
Paying for services

Launching or sustaining a project, and generating ideas & brainstorming are the two most commonly funded activities among all cities surveyed.

How is innovation measured?

Akron has developed partnerships to promote its innovation capacity with other public agencies, private firms, and not-for-profit organizations.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data



Economic Development

Waste and sewage

Labour market and skills

Public works



Policing and law enforcement

Insufficient data

Housing and built environment

Environment and climate change


Digital governance

Social inclusion and equity